Poor Buddy the elf. I know just how he feels.
How so? Well, I’ve decided something–aspiring authors can sometimes be rather spastic people. Or for the sake of this blog post, “special.” I mean, we’ve got all this penned up energy, all these stories darting around in our brains while trying to squeeze through this funnel that leads to the world of publication. So at times (due to all that creative energy and darn emotional drive) we tend to be more of a menace to society than a pulled together professional. Ever had one of those moments? The moment when any decorum (or coolness) you may have had dissipated quicker than you could say “elevator pitch.”
Boy, have I ever. So just for fun, and for all you out there who’ve ever accidentally traded your brief case for a dunce cap, I’ve decided to share a few of my own writing bloopers and blunders.
1. So when I first starting sending out query letters, I printed them on this really nice ivory paper. Nothing wrong with that. But then I decided to get crafty and use my little embosser I got at the scrapbook store and make a pretty little header on top with scrolly things and a flower. Apparently, I thought my crafty touches would secure me an instant contract. It didn’t. Fortunately I showed restraint before pulling out the stickers and puffy paint–but not before drawing, then scanning, my own personal logo that I so professionally designed and printed on each query letter. Beginning to see the whole wanna be author on the loose thing? Oh, it gets worse.
2. Many moons ago, at one of my first signings for a little book I had, an old family friend (someone whom I’ve known practically since birth) came to buy one. I pulled out a fresh copy of the book and my little sharpie marker, then went to personalize it.
Except I just stared blankly at the page, wracking my brain for this person’s name. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember.
I asked them–this person I’d known since birth–who I should make it out to. They suggested I make it out to them and their spouse.
Now at this point, I desperately wanted to dive under the table but I’d probably smack my head and knock myself out and I really didn’t want the bookstore owner to have to call 911 on my behalf. Besides, as a close family friend this person would probably have offered to ride in the back of the ambulance with me and hold my hand while I iced the lump on my head the size of a cantaloupe AND I still wouldn’t have been able to remember their name. Hmmm, at least I’d have an excuse. Tempting…
I decide to forgo the diving under the table opportunity and proceeded to stare blankly at the page awaiting personalization. Finally, I asked, “How do you spell your name?” And (of course) they said, “Just like it sounds.”
At that moment, this sweet, kind, patient person spelled out their name and the light bulb went on. I may have been sweating bullets by then, but if they noticed, they showed nothing but gratitude for the book.
3: At a writer’s conference recently, I had an appointment to meet with one of my absolute favorite authors. I was really excited. Beyond excited, because I’d been planning on meeting with this person for months and had all these questions I was just dying to ask.
So. I had my time mentally recorded when I began chatting with another writer friend during a free moment. She told me about her upcoming appointments and somehow my (spastic-wannabe-author-on-the-loose) brain decided to convert her time to mine. Long story short, I suddenly realized that I had missed my meeting so I rushed (OK, I practically ran–if you’re envisioning me in my ridiculous black high-heels catapulting myself through the facility, business cards flying out behind me like a cloud of dust…you’re not too far off). I missed the meeting and with a broken lil’ writer’s heart, mopped my brow and probably went in search of the snack table to drown my sorrows. I hear they invented this thing called pen and paper–they say its handy for writing things down. Who’da thought?
4. The VERY first time I called my agent, it went to her voicemail and I was so nervous I blurted out, “Hi Suzanne, this is Sandra.”
Instant Replay: “Hi Suzanne, this is Sandra.”
My agents name would be Sandra and my name would be Joanne.
Apparently I confused her with my mother-in-law, then proceeded to steal her identity. Oh, and then I sat without speaking for probably five seconds, no doubt breathing into the phone like a stalker, debating whether or not to hang up. Then I remembered this little thing called caller ID (and how to converse in the English language) and quickly left the shortest, most pitiful message I could manage before hanging up. Yeah. Great way to kick off that professional agent/author relationship.
Well that was painful, but I feel like I got a lot off my chest 😉 Feel free to share you’re own bloopers and blunders. I’d love to know that there are others out there who’ve lost all sense and reason at least one time or another! Oh and the next time you bump into a writer aspiring toward publication, be patient…they’re a little special.
Photo credit: Elf, 2003